Enhancing the future of satellite communications
Seamless and reliable connectivity is the lifeblood of business operations, making satellite communications a pivotal component in the global network infrastructure. In September 2023, AST SpaceMobile achieved a groundbreaking milestone, marking the first-ever 5G voice and data connection from a standard smartphone directly to a satellite in low earth orbit (LEO). This achievement paves the way for a transformative shift in how we perceive and utilise satellite communications, promising a more connected world.
The AST SpaceMobile breakthrough
AST SpaceMobile’s recent achievement was nothing short of remarkable. The successful 5G call from Hana, Hawaii to Madrid, Spain via the BlueWalker 3 test satellite using a stock Samsung S22 smartphone, showcased the potential of space-based connectivity. The company also achieved a download speed of 14 megabits/second during a separate test, opening doors for various applications beyond mere phone calls. Internet browsing, downloading files, streaming videos, and more are now feasible at faster speeds.
The potential of satellite communications
Satellite communications have evolved over the years, playing a crucial role in delivering internet, TV broadcasting, weather updates, and even GPS services. As technology advances and global connectivity demands escalate, satellites provide a viable solution, especially in remote or rural areas where traditional infrastructure is challenging to implement.
One of the revolutionary aspects of AST SpaceMobile’s approach is its ability to provide cellular coverage to the parts of the world that lack mobile connectivity, covering at least 90% of the earth’s surface. By achieving compatibility with major smartphone manufacturers and offering support for 2G, 4G LTE, and now 5G, SpaceMobile is well on its way to revolutionise global internet connectivity.
While LEOs offer the ability for faster upload and download speeds more synonymous with fixed broadband, the high satellite density needed to create the coverage means any user is always challenged with maintaining constant a connection, something that traditional security protocols do not like as they were never designed for these sort of environments.
if a business chooses to take a high earth orbit (HEO) approach or a hybrid of the two, then latency becomes the challenge and reduced payload in the upload/download speeds.
Operating in both these environments needs careful considering when it comes to security tooling, especially VPN’s. Getting something that can handle LEO and HEO environments to deliver the benefit of satellite comms- with security, remains a challenge.
The importance of cyber security in satellite communications
As satellite communications become more pervasive and crucial for businesses and individuals, the risks associated with cyber threats grow as well. Cyber attacks on satellite networks can have severe consequences, ranging from data breaches to service disruption, financial losses, and even threats to national security.
Ensuring the cyber security of satellite communications is paramount for safeguarding sensitive data and maintaining the reliability and integrity of the network. Cyber security measures need to be embedded at every level of satellite communication, from the design and development stages to deployment and ongoing monitoring.
Secure future of satellite communications
To secure the future of satellite communications, collaboration among industry stakeholders, governments, and cyber security experts is essential. It’s crucial to implement robust security protocols and standards, conduct regular security audits, and invest in cutting-edge cyber security technologies. Encryption, authentication, and intrusion detection systems are some of the key elements that need to be integrated into satellite communication systems.
The recent achievement by AST SpaceMobile in achieving 5G connectivity via satellite is a testament to the evolving landscape of satellite communications. With promises of enhanced connectivity, including internet browsing and streaming capabilities, satellite communications are set to redefine the way we connect globally.
However, in this era of rapid technological advancement, ensuring cyber security in satellite communications is non-negotiable. The potential risks associated with cyber threats necessitate a proactive approach, whereby cyber security is embedded into the core of satellite communication systems.
By addressing the cyber security concerns and leveraging the transformative potential of satellite communications, we can truly embrace a connected world where no one is left behind, ensuring a future that is both technologically advanced and secure.
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CyberHive Connect supports a wide range of IoT use cases, from secure real-time sensor data monitoring to bi-directional communications for remote inspection of utilities and smart grids, predictive maintenance, and proactive alerts for fleet optimisation. It can also provide IoT device tracking and messaging for use in signalling and automation systems on railways, plus many more applications.
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